Never Let Me Go

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AP English
Independent Novel
September 5, 2012
Never Let Me Go
By Kazuo Ishguro
Published 2005

In a small school called Hailsham placed in England in the 1990’s, Kathy, a student from years back is looking in search of Hailsham after a few years of it being shut down. Kathy has reminisce of Tommy; a strong-willed boy who was the best football player at the time, threw tantrums and wore a special polo shirt as good luck. She also had reminisce of her times at Hailsham and the events that had taken place there. When Kathy was a student, everyone who attended was examined weekly in Room 18 by a nurse who everyone nicknamed Crow Face. Kathy and the other students learned about “exchanges” which took place four times a year; once in the spring, summer, autumn, and winter. How you were regarded at Hailsham was based on how well you were at creating. These creations that students made were part of the exchange and students would buy work done by other students in your own year. When students bought your creations, this would get you tokens and you could buy other creations from class mates. Tommy is a shy child who is not very creative. In Miss Geraldine’s class is where most of the students make their creations. Tommy made a kid-like creation of an elephant painting and Miss Geraldine praised Tommy for his uniqueness. After Tommy stopped throwing his tantrums during school he stopped getting made fun of. The woman, who ran Hailsham, went by the name of Madame. She was a tall, French, narrow, short haired and distant from the children. Miss Emily was one of the students’ favorite teachers. She was older, stood straight, had silvery hair that she wore back; quiet, deliberate voice, and made fair decisions. In Miss Emily’s and Miss Lucy’s class, the students talked about the token controversy over Madame taking work and paying the students with tokens. Eventually the issue got resolved and tokens were given to the students. Polly, a student from the same year as Kathy and Tommy, asked Miss Lucy why Madame took their creations. Miss Lucy replied, “All I can tell you today is that it’s for a good reason. A very important reason. But if I tried to explain it to you now, I don’t think you’d understand. One day, I hope, it’ll be explained to you” (Ishiguro 40). Once a month there would be “Sales”. A large van would bring toys and outdated items from the outside of the Hailsham gates and students could use their tokens to buy items of their preference. Every morning there was an assembly before school, except on the days that there were Sales because there would be announcements. Junior year, Kathy became acquainted with Ruth. Kathy and Ruth played in the sandbox together and eventually Ruth began to let Kathy play with her horses. Ruth questioned Kathy about if she liked Miss Geraldine and Kathy said that she did. Ruth then said, “All right. In that case, I’ll let you be one of her secret guards” (Ishiguro 48). Ruth tells Kathy that there are 6-10 secret guards and they make presents for Miss Geraldine and guard her from being kidnapped. Ruth said Miss Geraldine gave her the pencil case that she has now. Kathy looks back into the files of the sales to see if Ruth is lying. In art class another student had asked about Ruth’s pencil case and Kathy backed her up. In Miss Emily’s classroom she talked about England and a place called Norfolk which was known as a “lost corner.” Kathy lost her beloved tape of ‘Songs after Dark’ by Judy Bridgewater at which she found at a Sale. The cover of the cassette tape was not appropriate for Hailsham because the guardians were very strict on smoking. On the tape, track number three was Kathy’s favorite song; “Never Let Me Go.” One day Kathy was listening to her favorite track on the cassette and was dancing around like she was holding a baby, Madame walked by her room and saw the door open and Kathy dancing. Madame began to weep and the tape went missing a few months after this incident. All...
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